I'm trying to build a shovel guitar, and I'm having trouble. Does anyone on here have any tips or tricks on how to drill through the blade of the shovel? It's just dulling my bits.

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You should be able to drill holes if you don't try to drill too fast or without lubrication. But, if you are having trouble in spite of the above, you might try annealing the section of the shovel you are trying to drill through.

To anneal it use a propane torch to head the section to red hot and let it cool down slowly. Do this several times and the temper in that section of the blade should be reduced so you can drill it.

When drilling through metal, always start with a sharp bit, I would try a new bit of good quality, cheers

Also start with a smallest drill bit as possible and work up the final size. I have found also that not all drill bits are created equal.


You need good drill bits. I use the Titanium bits. Not Titanium coated bits, but solid Titanium bits made by Dewalt. They cost more, but when it comes to tools, you get what you paid for.

Hopefully your drill is up for the challenge. 3/8" drill at 5 amps or more should be able to handle it. I don't buy battery operated power tools either, it's electric plug in 120 volt or nothing for me.

Good advice Paul,you really need that 120volt for hardened metals like shovels? 

Some battery operated power tools are better than others(Makita, Dewalt), but the batteries are always the weak point and the replacements cost as much as a new tool.

My corded tools last for years. Might be inconvenient with the extension cord, but it gets the job done. 

Of course there's time when electricity isn't available and those battery operated tools are a necessity, but practically every shop has electricity or access to it.

When  I drill stainless steel I use a new bit made for drilling in metal, and use tap and die oil as a lubricant. I also try to drill at lower speeds with even pressure. It should start shaving out the hole. When I first attempted to drill trough stainless steel I was drilling with too high a speed and the bit would heat up and dull quick, even some expensive bits. Going with a lower RPM, using cutting oil to help cool things down, and applying even pressure has worked for me. 

Hi, these are the type of drills you don't want to use, not only 'cos they are wood bits, but because I could cut them shorter with a hacksaw. I needed shorter drill bits to work inside a guitar.


And don't wear sandles in the workshop. ;) Hahaha

ok smart arse, I knew that would get a comment and not the issue of good drills. Anyway I wanted to in the photo too. Haha


I've been called one of those most of my life. Haha

You always give us good info Taffy.


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